Town & County

22-unit affordable housing development a ‘nightmare’ to some Pinebrook residents

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — On Tuesday night the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission saw an application to rezone the parcel across from the Park City Day School in lower Pinebrook that is currently occupied by tennis courts.

The request included a conditional use permit for a 22-unit townhome, with eight one-bedroom units, and nine two-bedroom units.

The parcel’s owner said the development would be a range of 30% area median income (AMI) to 80% AMI, with a strong mix of 60% AMI. The applicant cited the desperate need for affordable housing in Summit County in its presentation to the commission.

“Our most profitable path was actually to move forward with a large-scale home on the site. And that would be the number one profitable space for us to jump into,” the CEO of Resonance Ventures, which owns the land, said Tuesday. “And in doing that, we don’t see that that would be the highest and best use for this space to make a connected community development project that is going to then, you know, accommodate for affordable housing within the community as well.”

8,800 workers commute from outside Summit County every day, according to a report from Park City published earlier this year. Over half of Park City’s workforce commutes from either Salt Lake County, Wasatch County, or other places outside of the county. Over one-fifth of the total housing units in the county are short-term rentals.

2022 AMI income limits courtesy of the nonprofit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust:

  • 30% AMI: $28,080 (individual)
  • 60% AMI: $56,160
  • 80% AMI: $74,880

Pinebrook residents began to organize when news of the townhomes arose.

Two homeowners associations with the Elk Run Townhomes in lower Pinebrook retained the law firm Rosing Davidson Frost in Park City, which wrote a letter to the commission that claimed the rezone application was “spot zoning.”

The letter also pointed to the 90-day minimum rental requirement and said that it didn’t qualify as a viable affordable housing opportunity. Three-month rentals are often used by J-1s and other seasonal resort workers.

The associations both denounced the Summit County Planner Amir Caus’ characterization that the project plan “is compatible with adjacent land uses and will not be overly burdensome to the local community.”

The location of the parcel is a one-minute walk to a High Valley Transit pickup spot, and close to Fresh Market and the other businesses in lower Pinebrook.

The letter included this video, showing afternoon pickup traffic at the Park City Day School.

In addition to the letter, a website was started about the development and there were several calls to action on the notorious Nextdoor app.

One post included Caus’ contact information, writing “they are planning to put 22 units where the tennis courts are. A night mare.”

Another wrote the developer was planning to “use the smallest possible set-backs, so they will be literally looking in through their neighbors windows.”

Many residents also spoke against the project during a public hearing held Tuesday, where concerns included water use and the drought emergency Gov. Cox declared last week. There were some, however, that praised the development, and questioned why so many community members were in opposition.

The strong showing pushed the commission to forward a negative recommendation to the Summit County Council. Their primary argument was that the proposal did not meet General Plan Policy 2.3 criteria, Caus said.

“Entitling new density/up zoning has a very high bar to clear, additionally there were some concerns about project density, parking, fit with the neighborhood, and connectivity,” the commission’s chair, John Kucera said.

Policy 2.3 of the Snyderville Basin General Plan states;

“Do not approve any new entitlements beyond those permitted by the Development Code until such time that existing entitlements are significantly exhausted, unless the County legislative body first determines that:

a. a compelling countervailing public interest, specifically identified in the General Plan exists and cannot be reasonably satisfied without expanding one or more entitlements(s);

b. such new entitlement(s) do not simply result in an incidental benefit to the public interest, but rather such entitlement(s) are intended primarily to promote such compelling countervailing public interest; and

c. any new entitlement(s) are consistent with the Neighborhood Planning Area Plans and the Snyderville Basin General Plan’s Future Land Use Maps, as amended.”

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